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Falcons vs. Panthers: 3 Falcons up, 3 Falcons down after second win in two weeks

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Fact: Ricardo Allen toes get very cold when he sleeps

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons went into yesterday’s game a 2-7 team. By the end of the game, the Falcons were 3-7 and on paper, that doesn’t mean much. (They still aren’t going to the playoffs and 2019 is still a lost season.) But in practice, and in real time, it meant a lot. The Falcons appear revitalized after a much-needed bye week. Notwithstanding their plummeting draft position, the fan base is hyped, because the Falcons are winning football games. It’s a good feeling.

Let’s take a look at some of the best and worst individual performances from yesterday’s win.

3 Falcons Up

Ricardo Allen

Allen played like a man possessed yesterday. He was all over the field, swatting and intercepting passes like his achilles injury never happened. Allen’s trademark shimmy was out in full force yesterday, and for good reason.

Takk McKinley

Takk getting hurt while playing his best game of the season is the functional equivalent of having ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife. McKinley was injured while sacking Kyle Allen. Earlier in the game, his pressure set up the De’Vondre Campbell interception. It’s Week 11, but Takk has arrived, y’all.

Calvin Ridley

Good grief, Calvin. The departure of Mohamed Sanu and Austin Hooper’s injury certainly opened the door for Ridley, but he burst right through that doorway yesterday. Ridley racked up 143 receiving yards on 8 receptions and scored once.

Honorable mention: Kenjon Barner, De’Vondre Campbell

Barner scored the first Falcons special teams touchdown since the dawn of time and Campbell played a solid football game, including an interception that ended the Panthers’ first offensive series.

3 Falcons Down

Dirk Koetter

Oh, Dirk. Do you think your ill-conceived screens will ever work on an NFL defense? Have you thought about teaching the offensive line how to run block? Why are you afraid of the red zone? More questions than answers, folks. More questions than answers.

Dan Quinn

If the Falcons just needed Quinn to get in the backseat and let his assistants drive for a while to right the ship, one has to wonder how much faith the front office should have in him going forward. Sure, he’s a locker room favorite. And sure, his track record gets him some leeway. But this appears to be an entirely different defense and other than relinquishing control, what did Quinn do to make that happen?

Brian Hill

Today wasn’t Hill’s last opportunity to make an impression on a team, be it the Falcons or another franchise, that he’s worthy of a long-term investment. But he looked completely inept behind an offensive line that, to be fair, was struggling to run block yesterday. With Ito Smith out for the year and Devonta Freeman sidelined, Hill had an opening. He didn’t need to replicate his 115 rushing yards from the last game against the Panthers, but he needed to do ... something. Hill accumulated just 30 yards rushing on 15 carries. In short, he didn’t do much.